Trump Agonistes, Part 2

So I’ll freely admit to being surprised that Trump wasn’t quite as batshit crazy as I thought he’d be. No doubt that creepy, sniffly, stalkery performance was his idea of subtlety. Maybe if this had been the Trump we saw at the first debate (an asshole, but not a dangerously unhinged asshole) he wouldn’t be in free fall now. But it’s pretty clear after last night’s checklist of long discredited conspiracy theories, he’s only interested in his base now, which mercifully for the Republic is not nearly enough to win. It’s also clear that the campaign is being run pretty much exclusively by the Neo-Nazi (they prefer “altright”) Breitbart wing of the far lunatic fringe. 

As the Trumpkins turn their fury on Boy Speaker Paul Ryan, and the GOP’s idea of good news is that their nominee has never sexually assaulted his campaign manager and their vice presidential nominee isn’t quitting, the big remaining question is what happens on November 9? Since it’s looking increasingly likely that Hillary will win in a landslide, what will Trump do? It seems completely out of character for him to throw himself on his fainting couch and poutily concede like Romney. Would he simply refuse to concede, concession speeches being a gentlemanly tradition of the sort he normally shits on anyway? Or would he go full Robert Mugabe and insist he’s really the president? As bizarre as this election has been, there’s almost nothing outside the realm of possibility, from him forming a “shadow cabinet” ensconced in Orthanc to him actively encouraging his legions of Frogmen to “take back” the White House or disrupt the inauguration. And here’s where we get into the danger zone. I can’t see his fat keyboard kommando twitter-warriors storming a barricade but what about a handful of deranged lunatics? Lone wolves? I have to admit, the thought worries me. It’s replaced the the dread that a moron like Trump might get his tiny hands on nuclear weapons, but it hasn’t diminished.

How far will he go?

Published in: on October 10, 2016 at 4:27 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Trump Agonistes 

The BEST case scenario for Trump tonight is that he only performs as badly as he did in the first debate. Actually, I take that back; the best case scenario is that he fakes a stroke and simply doesn’t show up. As for the worst case…well, given his recent angry retweets about “traitors,” it’s not hard to imagine him suffering a total meltdown on stage and getting into a screaming match with an audience member or storming off the stage, or otherwise completely losing his shit.

And then what happens? With his creepy ‘Moon Over Parador’ style rally in front of Orthanc, Trump already puts me in mind of Nixon right before he resigned, stumbling around the White House drunkenly ranting at the portraits while Kissinger tried to hide the nuclear codes. Would Trump go even further and exhort his deplorable army of Frogmen to actual violence? There’s almost no scenario too far-fetched at this point, unfortunately.

Finally, another prediction: one of the weirder legacies of this election will, I think, be a record number of faithless electors. Many states, including Texas, have laws against them, but those are almost certainly unconstitutional.

Published in: on October 9, 2016 at 10:04 am  Leave a Comment  
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First Takes

  1. Trump won’t drop out. I can’t imagine his colossal ego allowing him to entertain the notion;
  2. If he does, the GOP is screwed. The ballots are already printed. It’s too late to even add a write-in in most states;
  3. This will be spun to delegitimize Hillary Clinton, e.g., she only won because of those tapes;
  4. The always remote chance the GOP would learn anything from this election is even more remote, e.g. he only lost because of those tapes. We can double-down on the racism, white nationalism, and xenophobia;
  5. The chances his psychotic followers will do something violent & stupid have increased to a frightening degree.
Published in: on October 8, 2016 at 5:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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  1. No matter how large Hillary’s margin of victory, the MSM will deny it’s a “mandate”
  2. No matter how large Hillary’s margin of victory, Republicans will claim it was due to “voter fraud”
  3. Sometime between Election Day and her Inauguration, congressional Republicans will announce they intend to reflexively and unanimously oppose anything and everything Hillary proposes
  4. Republicans will do something of unprecedented partisan stupidity early on: disrupt the official counting of the electoral vote, try to block all Cabinet appointees, refuse to invite her to Congress for her first SOTU. Something.
  5. This something will be quickly explained by the MSM as “just the way both sides act these days”
  6. Assuming they keep the House, Republicans will announce a new investigation of Hillary’s Benghazi emails to Bill Clinton’s half brother
  7. They will NOT confirm Merrick Garland
  8. Early in her presidency, Republicans will try to force Congressional Democrats to do something craven, like the absolutely cowardly “defunding” of ACORN
  9. On Wednesday, November 9, 2016, it will become the received wisdom of the Republican Party that Donald Trump was a liberal Democrat and lost because he wasn’t conservative enough
  10. No matter how large Hillary’s margin of victory, Republicans will not learn a goddam thing.
Published in: on October 3, 2016 at 8:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Wherein I Respectfully Disagree

I disagree with the notion that Hillary Clinton has no responsibility to answer for Bill Clinton’s policies for two reasons:

1) He’s a former Democratic President who made policy decisions (NAFTA, Welfare Reform, the Crime Bill) that are still affecting the country today. It’s altogether fitting and proper to ask the current nominee of the Democratic Party whether she agrees with those policies, whether they’ve proven to be mistakes over time, and what if anything she would change about them. And;

2) Hillary Clinton was never a traditional First Lady. She was, and was presented to the public as, a trusted policy advisor to Bill. She was in charge of his disastrous healthcare reform effort. Just like any other former Clinton Administration figure, it’s entirely right both to hold her accountable for his policies she agreed with and press her on which of his policies she would change, if any.

Published in: on October 1, 2016 at 11:41 am  Leave a Comment  
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Working for a Living

A new study of welfare programs in several countries pretty convincingly debunks the common wisdom that “giveaway programs” make poor people lazy. Nearly all the programs studied were “conditional cash transfers,” meaning you had to do something (like getting your kids vaccinated) to get the money. It supports my long-held theory that policy makers on the Left and Right both make a fatal mistake in assuming that poor people are somehow intrinsically different in thought and motivation than the rest of us.

Published in: on November 20, 2015 at 12:07 pm  Comments (2)  

Excerpt from Ben Carson’s Interview on CNN

Published in: on November 7, 2015 at 8:33 pm  Comments (1)  

It’s the Supreme Court, Dummy!

Excellent article here and a great follow-up to Matt Yglesias’ recent Jeremiad about Democratic complacency at the state level. The fact of the matter is SCOTUS is the third hyper-partisan branch of government and with the other two almost certainly still divided after 2016, the most important. Forget undoing the damage of the Roberts Court; Democrats must retain the White House to prevent what could effectively be the outlawry of the Democratic Party, progressivism, and the tattered remnants of American democracy. It’s that fucking important.

Published in: on October 29, 2015 at 8:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Ignorance is Strength

An anti-science ignorant zealot was made Chairman of the House Science Committee and given broad powers of subpoena. Can you guess what happened next?

Published in: on October 27, 2015 at 11:54 am  Leave a Comment  
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Doing the Impossible 


Trey Gowdy and his clownshow of a committee actually managed to make Hillary Clinton look sympathetic 

Published in: on October 23, 2015 at 9:03 pm  Leave a Comment  
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